Green Party welcomes news of troop withdrawal from Iraq, urges further steps for peace|
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders welcomed the news of the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by the end of December, calling the presidential order more than eight years overdue. Greens urged President Obama to let the troops come home to be with their families for the holiday, rather than stationed or redeployed elsewhere.
"We're glad that President Obama is calling all US military personnel home from Iraq and has ignored Republican demands to prolong the occupation. The President is honoring a binding Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Iraq that President Bush signed. The US must make every effort now to help US troops return to their civilian lives, especially those who've been wounded or have suffered psychological trauma because of the war. We owe the troops a great debt and an apology for sending them to fight in a war based on deception and cooked intelligence," said Carl Romanelli, Pennsylvania Green and member of the party's International Committee (http://www.gp.org/committees/intl ).
Greens noted that the withdrawal is the result of the Iraqi government's insistence and that the Obama Administration was initially reluctant to comply with the agreement (http://www.nationaljournal.com/u-s-troop-withdrawal-motivated-by-iraqi-insistence-not-u-s-choice-20111021 ).
The Green Party opposed the invasion of Iraq since its inception in March 2003 and demanded withdrawal afterwards. Greens blamed both Democrats and Republicans for transferring congressional war powers to the White House in Oct. 2002 despite uncertainty about WMD allegations (later revealed to have been the product of manipulated intelligence), forged evidence of nuclear weaponry, and implausible claims of cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda.
Greens participated in protests throughout the US against the Iraq War, and -- unlike many Democrats who claimed to oppose the war -- continued to protest after President Obama's election.
The Green Party called on President Obama to take further steps to ensure peace:
• The Obama Administration must also withdraw remaining personnel from private US security firms, whose presence in Iraq would constitute a low-level military occupation. These include thousands of State Department security contractors, despite the abuses and fraud in Iraq by firms like KBR and Xe (formerly Blackwater), which are not subject to the same restrictions and public scrutiny as US military personnel. (See "Out of Iraq: What Will the War Service Industry Do Now?" by Dina Rasor, Truthout, Oct. 26, http://www.truth-out.org/out-iraq-what-will-war-service-industry-do-now/1319637699 )
• The US owes Iraq billions of dollars in reparations for the loss of hundreds of thousands of civilian lives, many more wounded and displaced, and destruction of the country's infrastructure in an unnecessary war.
• The US should cease pressing Iraq to transfer control over much of the country's oil resources to US and UK energy companies, such as the hydrocarbon law still stalled in the Iraqi Parliament. The Iraqi people have consistently opposed the deal and prefer that their country's oil be developed and produced by Iraqi state-owned companies.
• The Obama Administration must withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, end air strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, and other countries, and cancel funding for Israel's military assaults on Palestinians. The continuing US military action in these countries remains a threat to peace in the region.
• Congress must reduce the bloated military budget and reject the Bush-Cheney-Obama policy of warfare for preemptive and aggressive purposes, such as ousting other heads of state. The cost of the Iraq War for the US has surpassed three trillion dollars, an economic loss that aggravated the current economic crisis. The human cost includes nearly 4,500 lost American lives and over 32,000 seriously wounded. (More information: Costs of War, http://costsofwar.org )
Green Party of the United States
For Immediate Release:
Monday, December 19, 2011
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, email@example.com